DOMESTIC tourism operators have shed worries about the high Australian dollar and are the most optimistic they’ve been in almost three years, although concerns linger about the business events, major events and backpacker/youth sectors.
These are among the key findings from the latest TTF-MasterCard Tourism Industry Sentiment Survey for the final quarter of 2012.
“While the exchange rate remains the number one concern, its importance has continued to decline – the high Australian dollar has become the new normal,” the survey found.
It also revealed that industry sentiment about domestic tourism performance recorded its fifth consecutive quarter of improvement, breaking “the baseline rating to 105 – the first time a better than average result has been achieved in 2 ½ years”.
However, “industry is predicting a more subdued March quarter with expectations dipping 9pts”.
Survey respondents were generally pleased with the performance of international inbound, which Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows is primarily due to strong Asian markets, especially China, and recovering traditional markets.
However some sounded a note of concern. One accommodation and gaming executive said: “In my decades of experience in the industry, these are some of the most difficult conditions, masked by Chinese growth”.
In other findings, “ratings for the business events, major events and backpacker/youth sectors (were) all down 6pts from Q4 the previous year.
“Meanwhile, drive tourism has surged from strength to strength, up 13pts, with nearly two in five respondents seeing good or very good results.”